In a world that is increasingly centered around technology, it is becoming more important that there is a familiarity with this technology in the younger generations. This is a major reason that many educational institutions are taking strides to adopt and encourage the use of technology in the classroom from an early age. As a result, there have also been some observable benefits.
Technology in K-12
Again, the world is more reliant on technology than ever before, with no indication that this reliance will decrease - or even stop increasing - anytime soon. This means it is only more important for students to be introduced to technology early and taught to use it for productive, practical applications.
More immediately, education technology carries with it numerous potential benefits for both educators and those being educated.
Collegiate Technology Use
Of course, technology has also taken a much larger role in colleges and universities, as evidenced first and foremost by the existence of online degree programs. However, this is by no means the extent of technology use at this level. Many schools now manage the majority of their student affairs online, from submitting assignments through email and online portals to signing up for classes. This has all led to college being much more accessible for many, as physical distance or other responsibilities no longer have to stand in a potential student’s way.
Is It Enough?
While it may be easy to view education technology as a means of minimizing a teacher’s role in the classroom, perhaps to ultimately replace it, many teachers see it in a very different light. In fact, the biggest criticisms are made for a very different reason: many educators are concerned that the solutions being developed aren’t fulfilling their real needs.
Educators across the United States have spoken out, stating that developers and designers are creating educational tools that aren’t effectively addressing the real shortcomings that educators are experiencing. However, rather than simply casting criticism, these educators are also calling for an open dialogue so that the solutions that they really need can be created.
For instance, when considering the needs of education, the administrative side of things is easily overlooked. A means of digitizing student records or ensuring compliance to special education standards would also be a huge benefit to a district.
What Comes Next?
As with anything, education will continue to evolve as new technologies are released, and teachers and students alike will have to adapt. Of course, some things will stay the same - as one teacher said, “My Chromebook wasn’t charged,” has become the new “My dog ate my homework.” There is going to be a definite learning curve, so to speak, but as educational technology becomes more the norm and improves, education will likely improve with it.
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